Smart consumption

A SMART way to shape questions supported smartups during our matchmaking event

On May 26th, an online matchmaking event was arranged to support the seven BSR smartups that were selected to take part in the SmartUp Accelerator testbed phase. In the midst of the challenging covid-19 pandemic, the event offered a way for the teams to gather leads for a new market entry in a time of isolation.

Limitations for personal meetings in the spring of 2020 shaped the project’s task to arrange events and work with business support. However, we identified an opportunity to do both – and have them reinforce each other by considering whom to invite and what tools to use. Going online and international with the matchmaking event, and having our 2020 batch of SmartUp Accelerator finalists as the core of our planning was key in our successful pivot.

With support and feedback from local partners, the smartups defined their needs for a match prior to the event. By writing down a SMART request, the partners could support identifying the right people to invite to the meeting, to ensure that the smartups would be able to meet with a person that could answer the questions they had or could provide the support they needed.

The term ‘SMART’ comes from the framework it refers to, but putting some time into considering and elaborating on the needs of the company is of course both smart and efficient for everyone involved because it can make goal fulfillment of a request more likely.

The requests allowed for all the companies to be set up with a total of 14 carefully chosen external experts from all project countries. It was a successful event which resulted in follow-up meetings for some companies, and had great elements of international dialogue. 

Tripled their online sales during COVID-19

A great example of a smartup from this year that managed to successfully develop their strategies in the light of the covid-19 pandemic is Suckõrs, an Estonian startup that produces and sells 100% natural produced reed straws. They joined the SmartUp Accelerator program aiming to enter the German market. 

When the pandemic struck Europe, causing disruption on all levels, Suckõrs’ sales dropped to zero. Suckõrs responded by planting 60 000 trees to become carbon neutral for two years and thus further their reputation within the ‘consumer cleantech’ ecosystem. They also began to offer personalized straws, which was of interest to some small startups and increased their sales.

– The personalized straws was how we got our sales up. In terms of the roadmap we conducted at the bootcamp, it changed completely because of newly established contacts with two very large and well-known companies. We did not fully cancel the German activities though – we still made some contacts and analyzed the market. 

Suckõrs adapted their social media marketing as well. Marketing their personalized straws and engaging influencers to spread the word contributed to a tripling of their online sales. 

Suckõrs also highlights the great value of asking the right questions.
 I think processes, models and tools are important to help a smartup analyze themselves. Who is your customer, not only in general, but who is your real customer? Who is your target, what is your product? Specifying this and looking this over is very important in times like these.

What is a SMART request?

For a request to be SMART, it should be:
Specific
Measurable
Assignable
Relevant
Time-based

It might look something like this:
We are looking to {larger goal} so that we can {why this goal matters}. To achieve this goal, we would need help in {specific need which helps you complete a step towards the larger goal}, by {deadline/timeframe}. 

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